NJ07 Race


Republican Tom Kean Jr., the new Congressman for New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.

On November 8th, 2022, Democratic incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski lost his seat to Republican Thomas Kean Jr. in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District. In the previous 2020 race, Malinowski had Kean by just over one percentage point, defeating Kean by around 5,000 votes, or 1.2 percentage points. It was one of the closest House races in the country. 

Malinowski was first elected in 2018, and he is currently serving his second term. Malinowski is a member of the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Homeland Security. He moved to the United States from Poland as a child. Malinowski was the Obama administration’s Assistant Secretary of State for democracy, human rights, and labor prior to serving in Congress. 

Kean formerly served in the New Jersey State Senate, where his peers elected him to lead the minority party. As the grandson of US Representative Robert Kean and the son of former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, Sr., occupying political office runs in the Kean family. 

The entire county of Hunterdon is included in the 7th district of the state, along with portions of Warren, Morris, Somerset, Union, and Essex. Under the district’s previous boundaries, Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by a margin of 10 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election. The main topic of Kean Jr.’s campaign was the high level of inflation in the country. Malinowski’s campaign largely centered on the Supreme Court’s controversial decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Focusing on a relevant, key issue for many Americans gave his run, which many Democrats wrote off after fear of redistricting, a boost. Malinowski also sought to associate former President Donald Trump and Kean Jr. together. Kean Jr., refraining from taking a formal stance on former President Trump and his policies throughout his run, allowed for more widespread appeal across the Republican Party, as well as appeal to voters across the aisle. Malinowski referred to the New Jersey sex education teaching requirements as “made-up cultural garbage,” and Kean Jr. joined the conservative pushback against him. During the primaries, a portion of Kean Jr.’s own campaign website was in fact directed exclusively at conservative voters. He was described as a “fierce champion of the sanctity of life, fighting every step of the way to protect the unborn from obscene abortion legislation” in the article. Later, during a forum, he expressed his support of abortions up to 20 weeks. To clear up his conflicting statements on the subject, he clarified post-forum that he in fact was in support of abortion up to the second trimester, and is only in favor of third-trimester abortions in the situation of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother’s health.  

Malinowski outspent Kean Jr. by more than two to one, spending approximately $6.8 million to $3.1 million, although Kean Jr. received greater support from outside organizations that invested millions of dollars in ad expenditures. The number of mail-in ballots that have been received but not yet counted must now be made public online by county election offices for the first time this year. By making it clearer that some mailed ballots are still being counted, the change aims to reduce the misconception that significant swings in vote totals after Election Day are the result of fraud. The district’s borders were changed by the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission and took effect on January 6, 2022. The district is more Republican than it was in previous years, despite the fact that it is still competitive.


*At the time this article was written, mail-in ballots were still being counted and Kean’s win was still awaiting confirmation. On Wednesday, Nov. 9th, Tom Kean Jr. won all but one of Hunterdon’s districts and his five-point lead led to his subsequent victory.